Being an internationally trained nurse in a foreign country can be an exciting opportunity for professional growth and cultural exchange. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges, including the potential for experiencing discrimination. Discrimination can have profound effects on individuals, but by understanding its possible causes and adopting effective strategies, you can navigate these difficulties and advocate for yourself in the workplace.
Understanding the Causes of Discrimination
Discrimination can arise from various factors, including cultural differences, language barriers, unfamiliarity with local practices, stereotypes, or biases. Recognizing these underlying causes can help in addressing the issue more effectively.
Strategies for Handling Discrimination
Educate Yourself about Local Laws and Regulations.
Familiarize yourself with the employment laws and regulations in the country where you are working. Understanding your rights and legal protections against discrimination will empower you to take appropriate action.
For example, if you are working in Canada you should go through your rights in the workplace as a foreign worker in the government of Canada.
Document Instances of Discrimination
Keep a detailed record of any incidents where you experience discrimination, including dates, times, locations, individuals involved, and descriptions of the incidents. This documentation will serve as evidence if you decide to report the discrimination later.
Seek Internal Support
Reach out to supportive colleagues, mentors, or supervisors within your workplace. They can provide guidance, advocate on your behalf, and offer advice on how to address the situation effectively.
If you feel comfortable doing so, address the issue directly with the individuals involved. Clearly and calmly express your concerns, explain their discriminatory behavior, and request respectful treatment. This approach may help resolve misunderstandings and promote positive change.
Understand Cultural Differences
Take the time to learn about the cultural norms and expectations in your host country. This knowledge will help you understand the context of the discrimination and find ways to bridge cultural gaps.
Report the Discrimination
If the discrimination persists or escalates, consider reporting it to your supervisor, human resources department, or a relevant regulatory authority. Follow the established procedures for reporting discrimination, ensuring you provide all relevant details and supporting evidence.
Seek Professional Organizations and Support Networks
Look for professional organizations, support networks, or advocacy groups that specialize in helping internationally trained healthcare professionals. They can provide resources, advice, or legal assistance to address discrimination cases.
Take Care of Yourself
Discrimination can take an emotional toll, so prioritize self-care. Do things that make you happy, and try holding your self-esteem high. Believe in yourself and stay motivated from within you. Seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals who can help you cope with any stress or emotional challenges you may face.
Discrimination as an internationally trained nurse in a foreign country can be a challenging experience, but it’s essential to remember that you have rights and resources available to you. By understanding the causes of discrimination, documenting incidents, seeking support, and taking appropriate action, you can effectively address discrimination and promote a more inclusive work environment. Remember to prioritize self-care and seek professional assistance if needed. Together, we can work towards a healthcare system that values diversity and equality.